Teslagrad is an interesting new puzzle platfomer from Norwegian developers Rain Games and we were lucky enough to play an alpha copy.
Set in a Steampunk version old Europe you play a young boy who uses his power of magnetism to explore and solve puzzles in a non linear world. It has a very distinctive hand drawn art style which looks absolutely lovely and really draws you into wanting to explore more of the world. The closest comparison would be with Jonathan Blow’s Braid but with much a darker style.
The game itself is a puzzle platformer with some action elements, you use a glove that can change the magnetic polarity of objects to repel and attract them to each other, this allows you to move blocks out of your way, create ridable platforms, attack enemies and so forth. There are also objects and creatures that can apply magnetic fields to your character temporarily, allowing you to fly through magnetic fields and perform large jumps. Core game mechanics works really well and the puzzles I’ve played so far are nicely designed with a good level of challenge. I’ve not reached anything that makes me pull my hair out just yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the difficulty curve ramps up later on.
As well as the puzzles there are various bosses to be defeated, here you will still use your magnetic powers, for instance by magnetising boxes which get attracted to the boss and damage it. These sequences are fast with a good level of difficulty. I found them a bit tricky but that could be because my platforming prowess isn’t what it used to be. Luckily there are very regular checkpoints so even when I do something stupid I don’t feel punished. Controls are simple and responsive and serve the platforming well. There is currently no controller support but as this is an alpha build that’s not suprising. I hope to see this added by release as in my opinion it’s much nicer to play platofmers with a pad than a keyboard.
I’m not sure if I would describe this as a physics puzzler as such, the physics powering the interactions of the various objects that you can magnetise are solid and I haven’t seen any major engine freakouts, a couple of slightly odd interactions but nothing that gets in the way of my enjoyment. Again this is an alpha release and I’m confident everything will run very well by release.
All in all this is a unique, fun and imaginative game which I want to explore more of.